The global chip shortage is making it harder for shoppers to get their hands on some of the most sought after tech gadgets of the holiday season.
In the six weeks leading up to Christmas, some of Apple’s biggest new products — including certain iPhone 13 models, some newer iPads and AirPods — are experiencing delays well into December, depending on model type, colors and the shopper’s location, according to analysts and online checks conducted by CNN Business. Last week, some Google Pixel 6 Pro devices were showing late January shipment dates for orders; by Monday, certain models were listed as out of stock on its website. Gaming consoles such as Xbox and PS5 are nearly impossible to find due to delays stemming from Covid-related production challenges and the large gap between supply and demand.
The wait times for popular tech products are always changing, but the challenge for shoppers is clear. “Right now, iPhone 13 and gaming consoles are seeing demand outstrip supply by roughly 20%, which is a telling [sign] for Black Friday and holiday shopping stress,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives told CNN Business. “We have also seen the new AirPods 3 already on back order with shortages into Christmas [week].”
The chip shortage, which also has had a major impact on the auto industry, also presents a massive challenge for tech products. For customers, it could require rethinking how early to shop and which specs and products they’re willing to live without. For companies, it risks hurting revenue for the all-important holiday sales season and cutting into the sales momentum for some of their recently launched products.
Take Apple (AAPL), which is known for having a sophisticated global supply chain to make its products. The iPhone 13, introduced in September, runs on Apple’s own A15 Bionic chip, which drives some of its new flagship camera features and an improved battery life. But it also relies on other companies for chips that power certain features, such as displays, power management and USB connectivity.